James William Holmes

James William Holmes

James William Holmes

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James William Holmes (c. 1957 – August 3, 1994) was executed at the age of 37 for the March 25, 1981 murder of Don Lehman. Darryl Richley and Hoyt Clines were also executed on the same day for the murder of Lehman.

The murder

Lehman, his wife Virginia, and their daughter Vicki were at their home when four men wearing ski masks rang the doorbell and forced their way inside. Lehman was shot three times and severely beaten with a motorcycle drive chain in front of his family. More than $1,000 and several guns were stolen, according to court documents. A few days after the murder, Holmes, Richley, Clines, and Ray Orndorff were arrested. They were convicted for the murder and sentenced to death.


An appeals court commuted Ray Orndorff's sentence to life without parole. None of the other three received a commuted sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments they were treated like "hogs at a slaughter". It was the nation's first triple execution in 32 years.


All three convicted murderers declined to make final statements. Clines was pronounced dead at 7:11 p.m. Fifty-eight minutes later, Richley died on the same gurney, followed by Holmes at 9:24 p.m.

Holmes was the 9th person executed by the state of Arkansas since Furman v. Georgia, , after new capital punishment laws were passed in Arkansas and that came into force on March 23, 1973.

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